by Jen Pastiloff.
I watched this adorable old man cross the street by my house just now as I was running. It took him a lot time. He had a walker. I stopped running and waited for him.
“Can I ask you a question? What made you happy today?”
Me: Do you speak English? Where are you from?
Him: I am Armenian.
Me: What made you happy today?
He laughs. He’s got all his teeth.
Him: I don’t understand question.
Him: You make me smile.
Me: I do? That’s the question!! What made you smile today.
Me: How old are you?
Him: If you don’t count night times, I tell you.
Me: If I what? Come over at nighttime? (Being nearly deaf I can barely understand him with his Armenian accent and the traffic. We’re standing on a street corner.)
“If you don’t count night times, I tell you how old I am. I am 46”
“Come on. You’re not 46 years old.”
“I told you. If you don’t count night time while I am sleeping I am 46 years old.”
Him: Sometimes I take bus. Sometimes I walk. Walk better. I take deliberate action. My doctor says, “if you are suffering or crying, better to walk, better than magic.”
Me: Better than magic?
Him: Better than medicine! (Me. Deaf ears. Him, heavy accent.)
Me: Ok, if you’re crying it’s better to walk? Better than medicine? I like that.
Bus goes by.
Him: How old are you?
Him: 39? My youngest daughter is 50 years old. I have 3 daughters.
Me: 50? That’s weird because you’re only 46.
Him: Walk. Walk better. Walk medicine.
Me: Walk medicine?
Him: Better than medicine, I said. Doctor fix one side, make worse other.
Him: My business. Earthquake. Took it down. I started my occupation in 1935. 1946 I came here in Santa Monica.
Me: What was your business?
Me: Tailor? That’s why you dress so nice! (He’s got an argyle sweater and a Kangol hat on even though it’s hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk. He’s dressed to the nines, my new friend.
Him: My son. He’s a tailor.
He leans back on his walker on the corner like it’s a little chair. He tells me that he does yoga. Do I know yoga? he’s asking me. He has been doing it for twenty years, he says.
He tells me he is 92. I tell him I am a yoga teacher.
I’m just saying- people are the shit. Like, if you really talk to them. If you really look at them. I am going to do more walk medicine. It’s magic.
Jennifer Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. She has been featured on Good Morning America, NY Magazine, Oprah.com. Her writing has been featured on The Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, Jezebel, Salon. Jen leads her signature Manifestation Retreats & Workshops all over the world. The next retreat is to Ojai, Calif over Labor Day/New Years. She is also leading a groundbreaking Writing + The Body Retreat with author Lidia Yuknavitch Jan 31-Feb 1 in Ojai. Sign up for that retreat by emailing Jennifer at jenniferpastiloff dot com and putting “writing retreat” in subject line.